Trump Lies, Handlers Try to Change the Subject

Early in Monday night’s presidential debate Hillary Clinton mentioned that Donald Trump had said global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. Trump interrupted (he does that a lot) to protest that he never said that.

Trump’s problem is that he said it on Twitter — so it’s right there, for everybody to see (and we’ve seen a lot about it, many times). Denying that he said it, was an outright lie. There’s no doubt. Denying it when it’s been seen (and repeated) so often by so many people, is just plain stupid.

It turns out reporters have been asking Trump’s supporters and campaign workers about this; essentially, why did he say he didn’t say what we all know (and can prove beyond doubt) he said? Their replies have been … fascinating.

The Huffington Post has an outstanding story about it — it’s very well worth the read.

The most common strategy was to attempt to change the subject. For instance, when Rep. Marsha Blackburne (R-TN) responded to being shown Trump’s tweet by saying “I don’t have my glasses on,” HuffPost read it to her. She then started talking about “countries that would not be forced to come into compliance” and how they’ll buy more coal — which is a classic case of trying to change the subject. Evidently the subject is embarrassing to them.

HP pressed the issue, asking “Do you believe that climate change is a hoax?” This is where Blackburne admitted that she does, saying “I do not believe in climate change. I think the Earth is in a cooling trend. It is not in a warming trend.” Wrong, wrong, and wrong again.

When Trump’s tweet was read to his aide Sarah Huckabee, the response was “I think what he said was, he didn’t think global warming was the number one threat to the world.” When HP reminded her that Trump had said “I never said that,” Huckabee replied “I’m sorry. I stepped out a couple times. I really don’t know what you’re talking about on that.

How convenient.

RNC senior strategist Sean Spicer ducked it entirely and rather plainly: “I didn’t follow that. I didn’t hear what actually happened.” He answered the next question with “I don’t know. You have to ask him.

David Purdue (R-GA) didn’t take long to try to change the subject, to “Right now, it is not proven. There are controversies about that.” Wrong. Of course he also claims that doing something about the problem that will destroy our economy, will destroy our economy.

Jeff Session (R-AL) at least had the honesty to admit “I’m not sure what he had in his mind when he said what he said” rather than deny it, before launching into the usual bullcrap about how saving the world will destroy our economy.

Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway went straight for change-the-subject. Fortunately, HP brought the conversation back to the subject, leading Conway to duck the subject for what Trump has said about climate change recently rather than his flat-out lie about what he’d said earlier.

There’s more complete information about their responses in the article in Huffington Post. Definitely worth a read.

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121 responses to “Trump Lies, Handlers Try to Change the Subject

  1. To play devil’s advocate, it is possible that an assistant wrote that tweet rather than Trump. Or to play at sophistry, that tweet was written rather than said.

    • To accept that as a defense would be to believe that Trump puts an anonymous assistant in charge of his public ‘voice’–and never checks his work. It would be easier to believe that if we were hearing from said assistant, along with a complaint that Trump failed to pay his back wages.

    • The Washigton Post recently had an article which examined Trump’s Twitter postings. They showed that the angry postings came from Trump while his assistants wrote happier posts. Trump uses a Galaxy phone while his assistants use an Iphone. The Twitter in the OP can easily be traced, but is most likely Trump, not his assistants. (Does anyone here know to view the record in the Twitter post to see if it was from Trump’s Galaxy?)

    • Didn’t his aide not say they didn’t know what he said? Does Trumpie often quote whatever is written down in front of him and when it’s a prepared speech, doesn’t even bother to have ANYONE read what’s been written for him before he goes on to say it?

      And doesn’t Trump insist he’s a great businessman? How can he be great if everything he does can be done without any knowledge from him and done by someone else without any of his input?

  2. both candidates are gifted prevaricators. Hillary is good at it, Trump is way good at it. They both know in their hearts that their intentions and aspiration transcend petty considerations. If you can stomach Hillary’s willingness to use military force to accomplish goals there are many reasons to prefer Hillary to Trump. This will be over soon and we will be back to the Clinton years of pragmatic third way politics. Go Hillary! Trump? Just go away, please. That guy personifies the international meme of the ugly american.

    • If you can stomach Hillary’s willingness to use military force to accomplish goals there are many reasons to prefer Hillary to Trump.

      Let me get this straight: are you saying Trump *wouldn’t* use military force? Did you just roll off the tomato truck yesterday? :-)

      • I think Hillary’s history of turning to use of force is much stronger than Trump’s, given that he has never had control of a significant military force. There is also some indication that Trump would prefer a more isolationist stance than Clinton, but who really knows with Trump. Luckily he will not be president so the question of Trump’s predilections regarding use of military force will continue to a rhetorical exercise. What I am saying is that I know many voters who will not vote for Hillary because of her history of use of military force and her alignment with the foreign policy ideas of folks like Henry Kissinger.

      • Well he won’t use military force unless someone makes “rude gestures” at us. Just what we need, someone with the emotional maturity of a frat boy making national security decisions. What could possibly go wrong?

      • +smallbluemike “I think Hillary’s history of turning to use of force…”
        Hillary has never used military force. She has never had the authority.

      • read carefully friends:

        [Response: Trump is the greatest danger to the U.S. and to the whole world in my lifetime (which isn’t short). But you won’t vote for the only person who can stop him. If he wins the election, I’ll blame the folks like you who refuse to swallow less than they want, rather than do something that can help all of us. How’s that for “respectful and persuasive”?]

        I approve and respect your decision to cast your vote as you see fit. I won’t play the blame game with you down the line over any policies or decisions that Prez Hillary makes, it’s best if you watch and draw your own conclusions after the fact.

        As I said above, if you want to defeat Trump, speak respectfully and persuasively to Trumpsters. Take votes away from Trump through your discussion with them. Our best hopes come from conversion of the Trumpsters. Defeating Trump is not the goal we should be considering, we should be thinking about how to help this country choose public policy that will address our biggest problem: global warming.

        Do you feel like the blame game really helps? It’s not going to change my vote and after the fact, it does nothing of substance. Is that really where you want to hang your hat?

        I will say again: speak respectfully and persuasively to trumpsters if you want to build consensus for good public policy that can address global warming.

      • here’s my advice to the folks who think it’s really important to elect Hillary: speak respectfully and persuasively to the trump voters and help those folks understand the big challenge we face, which is global warming. Our public policy decisions require building consensus about addressing this existential problem.

        But, hey, if instead you want to just bash and alienate folks who are already on board with radical change to public policy to address the problem, have at it. I know that is fun. I just don’t think it’s effective. But, hey, I just fell off a tomato truck, so what do I know?

        Fight the good and smart fight, friends.

        [Response: I don’t see any point to attempting persuasion of “Trump voters.” Those who are stupid enough to vote for him can’t be educated, and deserve far more vitriol than I dispense. I’ll reserve my comments for those who aren’t fooled by his lies or seduced by his racism and xenophobia, but won’t do enough to prevent him becoming president.

        Either you can’t see how dangerous his presidency would be — for all of us — or you put your own petulant dislike of Hillary Clinton above the desperate needs of others — all of us. Which is it?]

      • You might want to consider this gem in assessing Mr. Trump’s inclination to use force:

      • read carefully, friends. If you can stomach Hillary’s willingness to turn to militarism, there are many reasons to prefer Hillary to Trump. If you can’t stomach Hillary’s willingness to turn to military force, then she is out. You then have to look at other options. It takes nanoseconds to consider and reject Trump. Then you are left considering other options. I have done these calculations and will vote for Jill Stein. That’s one of my privileges in this system. I get to vote for people who lose elections. I have been doing it all my life. My countrymates have chosen candidates like Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, the Bushes over my favorite. I think countrymates will choose Hillary this time over my favorite. I think she will be less effective than Obama. Americans are tired of business as usual which is why Bernie and Trump did so well in the primaries. And that is one of the reasons that Trump will get a lot of votes and has some outside chance of becoming president. Hillary will lose some votes because she is the ultimate insider in an outsider election cycle. She will also lose some votes because stalwart GOP types hate the Clintons. DNC stalwarts who think it is really important to elect Hillary over Trump should put their efforts in the right place and persuade Trump voters to see him for what he truly is: a buffoon. That would bring trump votes to hillary. It’s a twofer. That is how DNC loyalists can help Hillary win. Beating up on folks who can’t stand either of the big party candidates is at best a onefer and at worst, strengthens alienates thinkers who cast votes on principles rather than pragmatism. Name-calling will not bring us around. Put your efforts where they need to be: speak respectfully and persuasively to the trumpsters. When those folks understand global warming and realize we have to make changes, things will change. Until that time we struggle with polarized gridlock, buffoonery and soundbite measures on global warming that will not accomplish much. Energy policy? All of the above? Is that what we should settle for? Does that get the job done?

        [Response: Trump is the greatest danger to the U.S. and to the whole world in my lifetime (which isn’t short). But you won’t vote for the only person who can stop him. If he wins the election, I’ll blame the folks like you who refuse to swallow less than they want, rather than do something that can help all of us. How’s that for “respectful and persuasive”?]

      • Well, Mike, I’ll give you credit for truth in advertising as far as you nym–you are VERY small. If Trump wins, I’ll hold you personally responsible. Hope that’s OK.

      • sure, that makes sense.

      • Ummm, I don’t think you can change the minds of Trump supporters. If you willingly hitch yourself to that lunacy, reason and niceness won’t change you. No, the best way to beat Trump is to get everyone who doesn’t support him out to vote.

        In the longer term, it requires the politicians to actually do something about what is driving voter to demagogues like Trump. The politicians can’t just shrug their shoulders and say that some unfortunate trends (like increasing inequality and insecurity) are inevitable, and on average we’ll all be better off.

      • “DNC stalwarts who think it is really important to elect Hillary over Trump should put their efforts in the right place and persuade Trump voters to see him for what he truly is: a buffoon.”

        Really? Most of this campaign has been one big revelation of just what a buffoon Trump is. That particular revelation has been well and truly delivered already, by the Clinton campaign, by media, and, most effectively, by Trump himself.

        And how well is that working out, so far?

  3. Trump also claimed he wasn’t sniffing throughout the debate, and that he hadn’t said “That makes me smart” in response to Clinton’s claim/statement that he hadn’t paid income taxes. He lies, and lies, and lies, and it doesn’t seem to bother many of his followers in the least.

    • Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but Hillary should have asked him, immediately, whether the reverse is true – paying taxes makes you dumb

      • Maybe she thought a follow-up would have spoiled Trump’s perfect work of verbal self-immolation.

        She definitely passed up a couple of easy shots, with “We should have taken the oil” (from Iraq and Libya) being a big one. But I expect his tax comment will show up in future Clinton ads.

  4. Well, in fairness, perhaps he never said that. He only wrote it. Not that it makes any difference to us, but to a liar it would. This would be in the same category as Bill Clinton saying “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”.

  5. David B. Benson

    Last I knew one writes on Twitter, not speaking. So The Donald truthfully prevaricates when stating that he never said that.

  6. One story that was missed by the press, was when Trump called Clinton a witch. When asked for something that would back up his claim, he said “She turned me into a newt!”. After fact checking his claim and finding no evidence to support it Trump then offered sheepishly “I got better”.
    Lying Donald!!!

  7. If gallup polling earlier this year can be believed, something over 60% of Americans are worried a’ great deal’ or a’ fair amount’ over an issue that one presidential candidate has denied exists.

    Clinton needs to nail him on climate change. Even in the counter factual parallel universe of wingnuttery that Trump has created there are people suffering tangible consequences of a rapidly changing climate.

  8. I’ve no illusions about trump being a terrible candidate, a shoot-from-the-hip speaker who has flipped on a range of topics, and who would almost certainly be a disaster for the US and the world if he became POTUS. But sometimes I wonder about the Huffington Post. This appears at the bottom of the article:

    Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

    Editor’s note? That is blog screed, not journalism.

    Can’t tell if Trump’s surrogates have a coherent view on AGW or are saying whatever they guess would satisfy whoever is left of Trump’s voter base. I’d guess the latter, because Trump’s support team have never seemed to have a coherent message. They’re always playing catch-up with the erratic front man.

    • This was a high-level decision by Huffington Post. If it was a print publication I would have said it was made by the editor-in-chief and/or the publisher. And it was a bad one that detracts from the site’s journalistic content.

      • Magma I think it’s highly ethical for any publication that takes a strong stand on an issue to loudly reveal where its interests lie.

        Arianna Huffington’s interest is reliant on defeating Trump. HP is an activist news organisation engaging in highly ethical conduct by not passing itself off as a dispassionate one. The WSJ is a good example of the converse.

    • ‘Blog screed’? What in that ‘blog screed’ isn’t true, damning, and worth emphasizing?

    • Editor’s note? That is blog screed, not journalism.

      Is some part of it factually inaccurate?

    • That isn’t blog screed, Barry, it’s a statement of documented fact.

      • Barry, if you can still assess anything about Donald Trump in an unbiased fashion after not just his abominable behavior in this election but over 40 years of abominable, bigoted and bullying behavior, I would contend that this speaks less to your objectivity and more to your ability not to pay attention.

    • If a right-wing publication did similarly to Clinton articles it would be written off as third-rate. Magma’ has pointed out that this tag appears after every Trump article. As loathsome as Trump is HuffPo’s naked partisanship reflects poorly on the journal, undermining its credibility, particularly regarding reportage on Trump.

      • It reflects primarily on the sheer awfulness that is Trump, if you ask me. They’d never have done that in the case of, say, Kasich. Because the reality is that, no matter how extreme that ‘kicker’ may be, it is all demonstrably true. So the question is, does the ‘partisanship’ support Hillary, or just the truth? Or, to pose it another way, at what precise point does a news outlet have to refrain from stating fact in order to maintain its ‘credibility’.

      • It must be quite a crisis to defend the abandoning of journalistic principles. I may overestimate what HuffPo is meant to be; it’s just that it is the source for the article above. A calm mind asks, considering the sheer bias of an automatic disendorsement at the bottom of every Trump article, whether any HuffPo article on Trump is unbiased. Did they edit out mitigating comments from the Repubs, for example?

        Probably not, I’d guess, but the residue of doubt sticks. That’s HuffPo’s doing, no one else’s. I loathe Trump and would vote Clinton*.

        * I’m not much enamoured of people calling her Hillary. Is this a feature with US presidential candidates very much, or is the first female candidate getting special attention here?

      • good question on the Hillary id. My take is that the campaign probably adopted it to battle a guy named Bernie something that gave them a run in the primaries. Thus the informality began. Hillary is also useful in creating space from any other Clinton who has been or will be a national political figure. First name thing helps to avoid the appearance and reaction to political dynasties. As I recall, a guy named Jeb something made a short run in this cycle as well.

        Jeb, that sounds like a guy I could have a beer with, right?


      • “I’m not much enamoured of people calling her Hillary. Is this a feature with US presidential candidates very much, or is the first female candidate getting special attention here?”

        Hard to say. There is certainly a tradition of disrespectful language toward Presidents (let alone Presidential candidates) who are disfavored by the speaker–‘Shrub’ for the second President Bush, or ‘Obummer’ for the current President. Even the omission of the title ‘President’ to my ear has something a bit cavalier in its brusqueness. But I don’t recall use of first name as being much of a ‘thing’, previously.

        Maybe it’s gender-related; I don’t know. It’s become so common that I slipped into it myself, despite having mostly insisted, during the terms of Bush II, on writing “President Bush.” I do think that a lot of the animus toward Senator/Secretary/Mrs. Clinton is connected to a feeling that she displays too much ambition, too much of a hard edge, to be ‘seemly’ or ‘womanly;–in other words, connected to sexism.

      • “I’m not much enamoured of people calling her Hillary.”

        Just to be fair, I try to call all politicians, and most other people, by their first name. In Hilllary’s case this is especially important since without careful phasing she could be confused with Bill.

        I haven’t heard it yet, but would Donald’s campaign claim that any third-party vote is a vote for Hillary?

      • SBM, looks like you may be right on first name usage. The Clinton campaign initiated it, as did other candidates. Owing to voter disaffection with the political establishment according to this op-ed.

    • better leave it alone, Barry. the site name is open mind, but any criticism of a certain candidate or attempt to be fair to another certain candidate and their respective supporters is not going to be tolerated.

      On the upside, this will all be over soon. One side will win with a narrow majority and the other side will respond with gridlock politics. This is our system and socio-political milieu for the time being. Being fair, respectful or reasonable makes no sense in this important political moment. This is a moment when we have to be expedient because the stakes are so high.

      Go Hillary!


    • Some thoughts from beyond the pond, where we narrowly missed having the country split in two by Scottish nationalism but have since been shafted by a bunch of liars into collectively voting to exit the EU. Deluded Donald is winning a whole lot of votes from people who are annoyed by a whole lot of things. The good old US of A needs to learn the political the lesson of Britain’s Brexit vote.

      Trrumppp is not just winning support from his unconventional campaigning. He is winning votes in the ballot boxes in November.
      Consider all Trrumppp’s egregiously silly comments, from continually calling Clinton “Crooked Hilary” (without any response) to his “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know” comment, to his dawn chorus twittering. To those who already see Trrumppp as a dangerous megalomaniac who should never be allowed within a country mile of the keys to the Whitehouse, Trrumppp’s comments simply reinforce that belief.
      But that has to be balanced against those who see Hilary Clinton in exactly the same light, who see all conventional politicians in that light. These are often folk who don’t normally vote (Note in UK Brexit vote, about 22% of the Brexit vote was from folk who were previously non-voters.) as well as folk who don’t normally give much thought to how they vote (Note in the UK’s Brexit vote, even the most pro-EU party still had 25% of its supporters voting for Brexit). Trrumppp will garner votes from places the opinion pollsters wouldn’t even imagine.

      Continually branding Trrumppp as a “danger megalomaniac” is not the sort of thing a normal politician does. But in the circumstances it is required. It is thus good that media outlets take up the task.

      But it does not fully redress the balance. The people who Trrumppp is motivating to vote will crawl over broken glass to get to the polling station. Unless the fear of Trrumppp motivates those opposed to him to a similar extent, Trrumppp will be the victor. (in the Scottish Independence referendum of 2014 the “No” campaigners were motivated to prevent starry-eyed nationalists destroying the UK. They came out to vote. The 85% turnout was unprecedented. In contrast, the Brexit vote was high at 72%, but a long way short of 85%.) To motivate folk into voting against Trrumppp you need to play the same game that Trrumppp plays.
      Do be clear what Trrumppp is about. He is not criticising his opponent. He ridicules her.
      So people need to articulate the point that Trrumppp is a childish egotist you wouldn’t trust with the money to pay your bar bill.
      He is such a big woman’s blouse that he has to hid his slap-head from the world with the most ridiculous comb-over known to man. The best you can say of Baldy Donald is that he is a “bare-face” baldy and a big woman’s blouse.
      Even his name should give a clue as to what to expect of the man whose puerile approach to life is simply unsustainable in politics. (In business it is different as in business you can pay people to sort out your shit, if you have command of enough money.)
      The word “Trump” has many meanings. There is the playing-card-type meaning, there is the blowing-your-own-trumpet meaning (which includes blowing your own bodily trumpet). There is a less common and less appealing meaning which leads to the word “trumpery”.
      But there is also the onomatopoeia meaning – “trrump p p” which is the noise resulting from the shit hitting the fan. I feel this last meaning is probably the most apposite in this circumstance.

      Unless the silent majority of the US can be motivated to go and vote against Deluded Donald (and branding him as ‘deluded’ and as ‘dangerous’ should motivate reluctant voters) the future will see the election of President Trrumppp.

  9. [I don’t see any point to attempting persuasion of “Trump voters.” Those who are stupid enough to vote for him can’t be educated, and deserve far more vitriol than I dispense. I’ll reserve my comments for those who aren’t fooled by his lies or seduced by his racism and xenophobia, but won’t do enough to prevent him becoming president.

    Either you can’t see how dangerous his presidency would be — for all of us — or you put your own petulant dislike of Hillary Clinton above the desperate needs of others — all of us. Which is it?]

    I encourage you to think about reaching the trumpsters. the solution to our big problem becomes much easier when those folks start understanding the problem. If your approach is to belittle and berate folks who do not agree with you, then you will not win any votes from the Trump column and you will not help any trumpsters understand the problem we face.

    Each day, the facts and impact of global warming become more obvious. Each day, the deniers are going to be easier to reach. Vilifying them will not help any of us. But, hey, if vitriol is what you really want to bring to a discussion with folks who don’t agree with you, who am I to suggest you rethink that approach. It certainly has helped me see the error of my ways and choose to vote for Hillary now. Go, Hillary, go!

    Thanks to all for turning me around on this important matter.

    If you can all turn me around on this question with your respectful persuasion, I am sure it will work on some trumpsters.



    • >I encourage you to think about reaching the trumpsters.
      Mike, I don’t think you can be serious, suggesting that Trump supporters can be reached by treating them with respect. The reporting on Trump has revealed that he has lied repeatedly since he began his campaign. Trump supporters continue to support him despite knowing that he is lying to them every day, every time he speaks in public. The reporting on Trump IS treating Trump reporters with respect. They see and read the same reporting on Trump that the rest of us see and read. The reporting is standard investigative reporting. But despite being lied to over and over and over again, Trump supporters continue to support him. So if you are serious about how WE should reach the trumpsters, then show us here how you would convince a trumpster to stop supporting Trump.

      • I think the response here is a mirror to what I find in talking with the trumpsters. It can degenerate to name-calling and abusive behavior pretty quickly if not done very well. The opening, the thing that is changing, is the climate itself. And nothing teaches a recalcitrant person better than a bad first-hand experience, so I continue to think that reaching out to denialists makes sense if it is done in a sensitive manner in the aftermath of really bad climate events.

        If you truly believe that these folks are too stupid to learn from experience and you are married to the notion that they deserve all the vitriol you can dump on them and more, then I think you should probably not make any attempt to help these folks understand what is happening on the planet. Your contempt and vitriol will be too easily read by folks who need a little help understanding that fox news is a propaganda machine for the 1%, not a news organization. That is a hard lesson.

        Go Hillary!


    • smb, you might want to consider the history contained in this article and the associated comment thread:

      I don’t know that jack is a ‘Trumpster,’ but he is well into denial on climate change. Been in dialog–I would claim ‘respectful’–for 10 months now. He’s still quoting completely unsubstantiated bumph from the likes of WUWT. Clearly, this is not a very efficient process.

      I’m willing to engage, since jack is willing to actual respond in substantive ways. And I don’t see any point in directing ‘vitriol’ at most individuals, other than the facts that sometimes affords petty gratification, or dramatizes a point. (Usually, though, the latter can be accomplished better with wit than vitriol, IMO.) But as a matter of pragmatism, winning the election turns on swing voters, not hard-core Trumpsters.

  10. Well, this is what I would like to say to those who think that teaching the DNC a lesson for picking a flawed and a too much of an establishment candidate by voting for a candidate that cannot win is a good and principled position:

    Believe me, they already get it!
    They can see the numbers too!
    They realise that the election being this close against the absolute worst and most dangerous GOP candidate in history, is a total failure and mistake on their part!
    You are not going to be telling them anything that they do not already know! The only thing, and I mean the ONLY thing that those protest votes will achieve, is the horrible, terrible and irrevocable possibility that Donald J Trump will take control of the most powerful political office in the world.
    Please think long and hard before making such a careless, precipitous, and pointless decision.

    • And remember what happened in 2000. Those who gave their vote to Ralph Nader, rather than Al Gore, put Bush into the White House.
      Would Gore have declared a “War on Terror” and precipitated all the horrors that have followed?
      Not to mention a different (!) approach to global warming.

  11. Respect should be earned. You acknowledge the existence (and, I hope, the danger) of AGW. You know, if you are not an utter fool, that Trump is a a despicable, shameless serial liar, that he is a denialist of the craziest kind (AGW is a Chinese hoax), that he is an utter ignoramus on foreign policy (Russia will never invade Ukraine), that he admires Putin and wants to weaken NATO, and on and on.
    If you, and people like you, refuse to vote for Clinton because it would pollute your ideological purity, and Trump wins as a result, the fight against global warming could be crippled for four years. If he doesn’t win, how much good will it do? Enough to offset the danger? I don’t think so.
    Frankly, your latest response reads like concern trolling.
    As Tamino said in ‘Tears’, ‘Hitler [or Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, if you prefer] is running for president, but you wouldn’t vote for the one person who can stop him.’ Some Trumpists may just be ignorant, but you don’t have that excuse. You deserve only contempt.

  12. small, respect must be earned. You sound more and more like a concern troll. I have no respect for Trumpists, but I think I could have a reasonably polite conversation with one, if they would reciprocate. I would probably limit my arguments to the dangers of AGW.
    Trump is a despicable, shameless serial liar; a denialist of the blackest sort (AGW is a Chinese hoax); utterly ignorant on foreign policy (Putin will never invade Ukraine), an admirer of Putin (he’s ‘strong’), an incompetent at what he claims to be best at (no Western bank except Deutsche Bank will lend him money any more; it seems his debts nowadays are largely held by Russians); and on and on. Trumpists may be ignorant; you have no such excuse.
    As Tamino said in ‘Tears’, ‘Hitler [or Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, if you prefer] is running for president, but you wouldn’t vote for the one person who can stop him — if she doesn’t best match *your* principles, the rest of us be damned.’ If people like you refuse to vote for Clinton and Trump wins (please no), action on AGW alone would likely be crippled for at least four years, with an ultimate incremental cost that could run into hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of lives. If she wins, what benefit for Jill Stein could possibly offset that danger? I can understand protest voting against Gore (but look how well that worked out), but against Clinton it’s irresponsible and indeed contemptible.

  13. 4 years is 1461 days approx .A long time to have Trump in as president.
    Hopefully the combined houses will deny him absolute authority.
    One can only learn truly from one’s mistakes.

    • If we are doing ‘hopefully,’ then hopefully he loses. The odds still favor that outcome, but by much too small a margin for comfort (or reason).

    • I think angech’s comment is helpful. What if everyone who really fears Trump persuades everyone they know to vote against Trump and Trump still wins? I have been there before (ronald raygun) and it is a very discouraging place to be. I don’t think we are going to be in that spot, but I think our potus electoral system is very bad and anything can happen.

  14. sadly, I’ll sign in here to depart the site, and remove the bookmark – when the blog owner announces arbitrarily, and with venom, that he will blame people like me if/when Hillary loses. Simply put, the “open mind” name is revealed as empty misrepresentation…

    [Response: Opening one’s mind doesn’t help if you remove your brain.]

    • pmattheis, maybe you should extract your head from the orifice in which it currently resides and look around at the actual choices that confront us and the realistic outcomes for addressing them. This is a two-person race. Choose one.

      • It is sad to read these responses. The level of rancor and partisan venom surprises some of us. I appreciate that treesong would consider talking with a trumpster about AGW. Expect to get a cool response or take a verbal beating, but you never know, maybe you say the right thing to the right person at the right time and something changes. Those are the moments I live for.

        I will hang a while to see if folks start to reread what they have said and have any second thoughts, but I might make the same choice at pmattheis.

        It’s interesting that And Then There’s Physics website has thread on twitter/internet arguments and whether there is any hope for that process.

        On respect, there are at least two schools of thought. One is that respect must be earned and another is that every being is to be treated respectfully. I am adherent to school two on that. Disrespect may be earned, but initial respect and a baseline level of good manners that would inhibit name-calling. I usually don’t bother with expressing disrespect, I normally just don’t respond to folks I don’t respect to some degree. Connect the dots?



    • pmattheis,

      Tamino has always been forthright with his opinions, and the title of the blog leaves lots of room for interpretation. On the question of who will be culpable if Donald Trump becomes President of the United States, I’m with Tamino 100%. The election has only two outcomes within the realm of probability, so it’s ineluctable that anything but a vote for HRC is a vote for Trump. That may not be your intention, but you are still responsible for the real consequences of your actions. You may have an absolute right to vote the way you please, but the rest of the world has an absolute right to blame you if you don’t vote for HRC and Trump wins.

    • I have sympathy, pmattheis. Tamino’s response doesn’t help, either. However, a lot of the posts are great. Even this one is mostly good. But independent minds don’t seem to work together too well, at least on the Net.

      I’ve heard the comment, many times, that a Trump victory would set back the climate mitigation effort decades. But then I try to think if anything has been done (as opposed to said) for decades and I come up empty. At least in terms of actions that have made a difference to the global emissions of greenhouse gases, never mind just about all other aspects of the environment that I can think of. The answer isn’t likely to come from any politician (and that includes Green ones, by the way).

      • Under Obama:
        1)The US is now part of the Paris agreement. That goes out the window if a Republican gets in.
        2) The EPA has proposed for the first time to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants
        3) CAFE standards increased by unprecedented amounts
        4)Disapproval of the Keystone pipeline keeping oil from Canadian tar sands out of US refineries.
        5)DSCOVR satellite and several other climate satellites approved after 8 years of ignoring the problem under Bush.

        The fact is that Obama has literally done everything he can in the face of a Congress controlled by lunatics.

        So, the question is: Are you not paying attention, or are you just particularly dim?

      • Well, I would take the level of emissions due to the economy (consumption based emissions) as a true guide of what a country has done. I don’t see any improvement in many countries that tout a reduction in emissions from their territory. Consequently, not much has been achieved over the last couple of decades (or since the IPCC was formed), other than the impact of a sluggish economy, so it’s difficult to do worse than that.

      • Mike Roberts read on the emissions and progress is similar to mine. I watch CO2 atmospheric numbers and see little sign that our species is taking this problem seriously. Lots of talk. We can move the deck chairs around, but the numbers continue to rise and the rate of rise is increasing. Yes, it could be worse, but I think the differences between the two major parties give us the following outcomes: we go over the climate cliff at 80 mph extolling the virtues of a free market or we go over the climate cliff at 50 mph talking about cutting emissions with an all of the above energy plan. Destination is the same: over the cliff. But, hey, if you think we can avoid going over the cliff with Obama and Clinton types at the helm, I am happy for you and I hope you are right and I am wrong. I would love to be wrong about this.

      • the level of vitriol shown in this thread is about the level I expect when dealing with the trumpsters. Makes me think of two things: the classic Pogo’s “we have met the enemy and he is us” cartoon and the amount of work that we have to do to create a political community where respectful exchange of ideas is the norm, where name-calling and ad hominem attacks are rare.

        to paraphrase/update the RFK quote: Some folks see things as they are and say, why? I dream of things that never were and say, why not?



        [Response: I thought that was JFK, not RFK.]

      • skeptictmac57

        It took 30 years (that’s decades) fighting tooth and claw to move the needle on acceptance of AGW on the GOP side to the tepid ‘I am not a scientist’ position rather than outright denial. But that is important if we ever expect to eventually be able to enact legislation that so far has been blocked at every turn. But even that meager victory can be undone in one fell swoop by a Trump victory.
        How do I know this? Just look at the Trump phenomenon of the coarsening of political rhetoric. The openly racist, misogynist, jingoistic, thinly veiled (if veiled at all) calls for violence. Any one of the numerous daily nasty statements by Trump would have sunk any other candidate over night, yet 46% of the voting public are eager to hear them because “He tells it like it is”. This is the result of a decade’s worth of bashing what the right calls ‘political correctness’, which usually just means avoiding racist, misogynist, and otherwise nasty attitudes about ‘others’, and they see as taking away their freedoms (to be an asshole I guess).
        Witness what is now happening on social media and elsewhere as the new found ‘freedom of speech’ of the downtrodden KKK and Neo-Nazi types are coming out of the woodwork and being joined (in sympathies at least) with ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ of the most hateful thing you can imagine, that only a couple of years ago people would tell you doesn’t exist anymore. This is not hyperbole, if you don’t see it, you are not paying attention (at your own peril I might add).
        This shows that hard fought progress on science and social issues that were decades in the forging, are hanging by a mere thread that can be snapped in a matter of months, when a fascist minded loud mouth with no principles, moral compass or respect for social conventions can become the supposed leader of the free world.

      • [Response: I thought that was JFK, not RFK.]

        It was RFK, paraphrasing George Bernard Shaw.

      • Regarding Obama’s efforts, Hansen is quite scathing in his latest blog post:

        President Obama seems not to understand that as long as fossil fuels are allowed (to appear to the user) to be the cheapest reliable energy, they will continue to be the world’s largest energy source and the likelihood of disastrous consequences for young people will grow to near certainty. Obama proudly states that his EPA regulations can actually produce a greater emissions reduction than would his initial nearly-worthless proposal of a cap-and-trade “scheme”. Obama salves his conscience by noting his agreement to share information with China on carbon-capture-and-storage, which neither nation will ever employ at the scale needed to deal with the climate problem, and his plans to be a climate ambassador in his old age.

      • in re Obama’s inadequate understanding and commitment to addressing AGW: therein lies the problem. I think it is a safe bet that Romney or McCain would have been less effective on addressing AGW, but the difference is not as large as it needs to be to address the problem. Israeli historian (mis)quote: it’s not that we are like the nazis, the problem is that we are not sufficiently different from them.

        for doc snow: read carefully. I have not suggested that we could convert climate skeptics solely through respectful communication. I think the key is climate change itself. Each day that the climate pours several inches of rain per hour on a skeptic, or slams them with a tornado or cat 4 hurricane, those persons are in a position to hear a respectful contact about their well-being, their understanding of AGW, and what we collectively need to do.

        Our approach, attitude, toolbox if different if our goal is to help ourselves and other persons understand a climate and political problem in a sensitive manner than it is when the goal is to win an online argument. In one of those scenarios, vitriol, rancor, name-calling is more likely than in the other.

        Warm regards


        [Response: Your incessant sniping at Obama is offensive. He’s *done* more about it than any other politician, certainly a HELL of a lot more than McCain or Romney would have done, maybe even as much as was *possible* in the present political climate. Are you really that clueless, or are you just trying character assassination on Obama? Either way, take it somewhere else.]

      • For those suggesting Obama should have done more and that his “inadequate” actions suggest he doesn’t understand the issue, I have but one comment. You want the president of a democracy to do more about a problem? Elect him a congress that is cooperative. Sheesh. Did you expect him to declare marshal law to enact climate policy???

  15. I am afraid that the Bernie Bros. and greenies just don’t get it. We have a two-party electoral system. It has been a two-party system basically since the nation’s founding. Changing that would require systemic reform. It simply cannot be accomplished from the grass roots. Given that reality, the choice is between the two mainstream candidates, and the choice we face makes this an election with great consequences.
    On the one hand, we have Donald J. Trump, who averaged one egregious lie for every 1.5 minutes he had his mouth open during the debate. And although he is a congenital liar, I certainly believe him when he tells me he will roll back every environmental victory of the past 40 years–hell, maybe 60. This is a man who denigrates women, minorities and the handicapped, who has been embraced by white-supremacists and has in turn embraced their media outlets and symbols, who has declared bankruptcy multiple times, who has driven contractors who worked for him out of business by refusing to pay them. He has threatened to use nukes, and indeed in his security briefing he actually asked why we couldn’t use nukes in the Middle East. I could go on, but if you don’t get the point, you are uneducable.

    On the other hand, we have Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has a long record of public service, dating back to even before the time she married Bill Clinton. She has served as Secretary of State, Senator and first lady. She has detailed policy proposals that are on line for anyone to read.

    She has been victim of perhaps the most sustained “swiftboating” campaign ever–predating even the term swiftboating. Every aspect of her public and private life has been exposed and searched for the faintest scintilla of scandal. Lots of smoke. No fire.

    She would also be the first woman to lead our nation. That counts for a lot in my book–particularly since she is well qualified to do so. And there is the final advantage of getting to see Rush Limbaugh’s head finally explode.

    Our nation and our world face many threats–some existential. And yes, it is true that the mainstream parties have been slow to address these threats. It is true that the institutions that govern us may even lack the facility to deal with some of these threats. However, in order to reform, those institutions must first survive. We cannot simply burn them down and build from scratch. There isn’t time and there is no likelihood that what we build from scratch will be in any way superior to what we already have.

    Barrack Obama has done more to address these threats and revamp our institutions than any leader in recent memory. To succeed we must sustain those reforms and extend those efforts. If we cannot rely on you to do your part in that effort; if you are unwilling to get your hands dirty; if you consider yourself to pure to dive into the muck of the political process and try to salvage what is good, then pray, why should I have any respect for you.

    • Well said. There is a school of thought that looks at politicians and says, “They are all as bad as each other”. This school of thought is encouraged by those who truly are bad.
      I don’t actually have any idea why Trump wants to be president. It certainly isn’t out of any desire to actually do anything for the average American.

      • I don’t think Trump wants to be president. He is enjoying all of the attention. It feeds his ego which is his brand. If he loses he will enjoy several years of talking about rigged systems and stolen elections, like the birther stupidity, it keeps him in the spotlight.
        If he is elected (a truly crazy notion and a long shot I think, but outside my control in any event) it could turn out like the Reagan attempt to dismantle environmentalism. Read about that here:
        These people are not all the same, some are worse than others. Good presidents and congresses happen on occasion. We have some hope of seating a reasonable supreme court in the next few years. It would be great to have something like the Warren Court years.

  16. “But then I try to think if anything has been done (as opposed to said) for decades and I come up empty. At least in terms of actions that have made a difference to the global emissions of greenhouse gases…”

    I don’t ‘come up empty.’ Europe mostly met its Kyoto targets. Had that not happened, I think it’s pretty clear that we’d have more than 400 ppm today. American emissions have pretty clearly peaked. Had that not happened, we’d have more than 400 ppm today. Chinese emissions may even have peaked (which would be a great thing)–though the evidence isn’t conclusive.

    We are, of course, not in a good place regarding emissions. But it would have been worse without the energy efficiency measures, renewable energy infrastructure, et cetera.

    • Yeah, but “It would have been worse” is damning with faint praise, isn’t it?

      Is that all we can hope and try for? All we can accept? “We could have done worse”???

      • “Damning?”

        No. Just acknowledging.

        We can do better, and we will. Indeed, I’d claim that we already are, with better yet to come–especially if we, the concerned, get off our butts and organize.

      • The founders of the US thought that no-one who wants power could be trusted. They wanted just enough government to forestall tyranny. They set it up so power-seekers have to let us choose whom we distrusted the least. “We could have done worse” probably is the best we can hope for.

        Maybe selfless, principled people with strong leadership skills do make it to the national ballot. How would we distinguish them from kleptocrats with good image-management teams?

  17. Anyone thinking about voting for one of the non-main party candidates should look up the concept of Opportunity Cost. There may be benefits in voting for that candidate, but there are also costs in not using that vote to vote for someone else. Look at what you have to lose.

    In the US, it is the states that decide how electoral college votes are determined for the presidential election, and how congressional districts are divided. If you want to make changes away from the mainstream parties, start working hard against the vested interests that Gerrymander the system at the local level. As long as you leave control in their hands, you’ll never get the opportunity for the changes you want at the federal level. Challenge your local candidates for Senate and Congress, and if they don’t see any problems with the process that led to The Donald being a presidential candidate, then tell them they’re losing your vote.

  18. “see things as they are” quote used by rfk, jfk, gb shaw. It’s a profound old thought:

    • It’s a profound thought if it makes you try to understand:
      1)why things are the way they are
      2)why they aren’t otherwise.

      Without those insights, you could wind up invading, oh…say, Iraq, toppling a dictator and giving rise to a failed state with global repercussions.

      • And be it noted that Hillary Clinton is reviled for warmongering because of the intervention in Libya, in which eighteen other unbribed countries joined the US, in which the US suffered 0 deaths instead of 4400. In which, in short, we met our goals and got out. And if things went badly afterward, I don’t see that they were worse than leaving Qaddafi in power.

      • right, snark. the iraq invasion and most, if not all, of our country’s reaction to the Sept 11 attacks were completely emotional and retributional. Complete madness and stupidity. I think Gore would have done better, but we can’t know for sure. My state gave its electoral votes to Gore over Bush. Too bad for many folks that the popular vote in that election did not put Gore in the WH.

      • skeptictmac57

        Speaking of counterfactuals (we don’t know what would Gore have done), we also don’t know how high Co2 levels WOULD be had we not taken the actions that we have so far. Acting like the alternative energy deployed so far, and the pressure to switch to lower carbon sources and close or not start coal plants has done nothing, is absurd and not helpful.
        That attitude breeds a fatalistic view of AGW that is not productive. It is fine to say that it is inadequate and we need to do much more, but saying that we are merely “moving deck chairs around” is nonsense.

      • sbm: “Too bad for many folks that the popular vote in that election did not put Gore in the WH.”

        It’s too bad 538 of the dreamers who voted for Nader in Florida didn’t vote for Gore instead, too.

      • “Too bad” indeed, for the 4,491 US fatalities, the 318 fatalities from other Coalition nations, and certainly for the 150,000 to 1 million Iraqi casualties.

        But the casualties of a Trump presidency could be, over decades, much, much larger.

        This stuff does matter. “They’re all the same” is way too cavalier. ‘They’ quite simply are not. Hillary Clinton is a much, much better candidate than was Edwin Edwards, but the history is instructive nonetheless:

        As the 1991 governor’s race drew near, many of Edwards’ friends encouraged him to abandon his planned comeback, believing that he had no chance to win. After Edwards’ loss in 1987, a journalist for the defunct Shreveport Journal wrote that the only way Edwin Edwards could ever be elected again was to run against Adolf Hitler. These words turned out to be shockingly prophetic, since after the 1991 primary Edwards discovered his runoff opponent to be neo-Nazi David Duke. Edwards received 34 percent of the vote while Duke received 32 percent. Governor Roemer placed third, 80,000 votes behind Duke.

        The runoff between an avowed white supremacist and a former governor who was corrupt but was also perceived as minority-friendly, gained national attention. Support for Edwards grew in between the primary and the runoff. Louisiana Coalition against Racism and Nazism, an interest group, appeared to challenge Duke, with its leadership including longtime Treen supporter Beth Rickey, a member of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee from New Orleans. The coalition revealed through a recording of Duke at a White Nationalist conference that he was still involved in neo-Nazi activities.

        Faced with the alternative of Duke, many who were otherwise lukewarm for Edwards found him looking ever better. Edwards found himself receiving endorsements from Treen and Roemer; even Republican President George H. W. Bush urged that Edwards, the Democrat, be elected over Duke. A popular bumper sticker urging support for Edwards (although clearly not produced by his campaign) read “Vote For the Crook. It’s Important.”

        Yeah. It is.

        As an unpleasant side note–but one, perhaps, better not ignored completely–Grand Wizard David Dukes is running for Senate once again this cycle, though pollsters (thankfully!) give him virtually no chance.

      • Maybe I missed something? Who said they were all the same?

      • Further to what Trump might do, here’s a new insight into the possibilities:

        Moron Effing Ebell. Talk about the fox in charge of the hen-house!

      • smallbluemike, when you are Trump, you desperately want people to believe that all politicians are the same, because its the only way people will vote for you.

      • sum asks, “Who said they were all the same?”

        Well, no-one here has, explicitly, though you hear it in the wider debate. But it’s a sub-text in comments such as Mike’s:

        I’ve heard the comment, many times, that a Trump victory would set back the climate mitigation effort decades. But then I try to think if anything has been done (as opposed to said) for decades and I come up empty.

        Denial and minimization are kissin’ cousins. And they are friendliest with the Trump side of the American family just now, as John Brookes points out.

      • Just to clarify, that is Mike Roberts’ statement on “coming up empty.” Most of us resort to vernacular language that includes totalized comments in this kind of forum. I like to avoid jumping too hard on the “coming up empty” type of phrase and assume that the true thought is “coming up mostly empty” or “so inadequate as to indistinguishable from empty” – more scientifically qualified statements that take a little longer to type out and incorporate at least a tiny amount of nuance and room for understanding.

        Personally, I think I tend toward the maximization rather than the minimization end of the spectrum. I think we need to make really radical changes to the way we live if we want to respond in a meaningful way to global warming. Talking the talk will not get it done. Denying global warming is lunacy or sociopathic. I don’t like to slam a label like that on another person, so I will simply state, that from my perspective, Trump is very dangerous and the biggest danger he poses is tied up in the fact that 40% plus of electorate apparently like what he has to say. That is a big problem. We can’t address global warming effectively until a big chunk of that 40% realizes that global warming is real and catastrophic. Hard as it may be, hopeless as it may seem, I continue to speak respectfully to those folks when occasion arises and I hope that “we” bring enough of them around eventually by some approach or another so that US public policy on global warming might be more than baby steps and lipservice.



      • Well put, Mike. Trump is definitely dangerous but let’s not forget Clinton. Whilst she is not the same in many ways, she has the same worship of economic growth that most (nearly all) politicians have. Such worship is shared by most people, including the nearly 40% of Americans who may vote for Trump, and it is such worship that stops anything significant being done. I’m convinced that the only way emissions will drop is for economies to crash. That’s not something that most people want so I expect outrage at such a suggestion, even here where the danger of climate change appears to be well understood. I think it’s worth noting that most of our environmental problems have occurred without climate change adding to them, so I do not think that (unsustainable) economic growth is a desirable outcome for any meaningful climate change strategy, even if that were possible.

      • And be it noted that Hillary Clinton is reviled for warmongering because of the intervention in Libya, in which eighteen other unbribed countries joined the US, in which the US suffered 0 deaths instead of 4400.
        Note that it was a NATO intervention mandated by the UN Security Council, not a US instituted affair. As I recall the French were prime movers.

      • Fair enough, smb. I knew it was Mike R’s statement and was responding in a more general way, not in a fashion tightly focussed on anything you had written.

        In general, I agree with you on the ethics and efficacy of engaging with others in a respectful manner. Where I differ is in the likelihood of ‘converting’ anyone solely on that basis. Can’t make converting the die-hards the primary basis of one’s political strategy, unfortunately. Swing voters, sure… but the problem is that a lot of them just don’t have the climate problem on their radar as the basis of a practical choice (as opposed to a theoretical issue to be the subject of abstract concern). Reaching the unconcerned is a real problem, because people have a tendency–a strong tendency–to just page past stories that they don’t see as critical. Thus, they are slow to be exposed to information suggesting maybe the issue is more critical than they assume.

      • Mike Roberts, so you think that if we undergo massive economic collapse, that emissions will magically decrease? Wow!
        Here’s a news flash, Mikey: Developing a new energy economy is going to be VERY expensive. It won’t happen unless there is money in the economy that isn’t being used for survival. If you suddenly reduce 7 billion people to hunter gatherers, they will consume, burn and generally trash everything, and that could increase greenhouse gas emissions.

        Trying to do all of this in one giant leap is bound to fail. Incremental successes are important, as they put of the point of no return until we might develop a technological solution. They also keep people from losing hope.

        H. L. Mencken: “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

      • Hi Snark,
        I think you posed a problem and provided solution in your post. Yes, decarbonizing the human economy could cause a massive economic collapse, but it does not have to cause a collapse because of the human economic activity that needs to go into production of low carbon emittlng energy, transportation and agricultural systems.

        Yes, this is a monumental task and it would be wonderful to tackle it slowly and thoughtfully. Every increase of a single ppm of CO2 and CO2e that we allow to occur digs our hole deeper. I think we are seeing the natural carbon cycle exit a fairly stable period of many thousand years and start joining our species in changing the chemical composition of the atmosphere. Incremental change approaches could end up looking like deck chair exercises in retrospect. I personally do not see much downside to tackling AGW as if our lives depended on it. What if we solve the problem and end up with low carbon energy, transportation and agricultural systems sooner than we absolutely had to? Would that be such a bad thing?

        A lot of people throw out the “wreck the economy” card when discussion turns to really starting the work on decarbonizing the way homo industrialus lives on the planet. Deniers and incrementalists both bring this argument. A few decades ago the US knew it needed to throw a lot of money into waste water treatment, primary, secondary and tertiary treatment. Very expensive when compared with just continuing to dump inadequately treated waste water into streams, rivers, bays etc. Bucky Fuller (genius!) said then, we can afford to do anything that we have to do. The economics of necessity really maybe that simple. If we don’t like the economic deficits that will arise from doing what we have to do, we may need to look at our tax system and figure out who can afford to give a little more now so that future generations have a chance for reasonable living conditions on the planet.



      • I’m not sure why you think there is anything magical about it, snarkrates. Of course emissions will decrease if economies collapse, or even just contract. Smaller economies require less energy which means less emissions. If there is a very quick total collapse (there won’t be), then I very much doubt that 7.5 billion people would have the wherewithal to slash and burn everything and I very much doubt that there would be 7.5 billion people for long. But that situation won’t arise in the short term.

        This isn’t simple opinion. Tim Garret’s work on economies being heat engines is a scientific basis for what I’m talking about.

        Yes, moving to renewables (which are not zero carbon) will be expensive but we’d better get used to the idea that there will be less total available energy with just renewables. In any case, cost doesn’t seem to be an issue with this civilisation; we just borrow/print more money.

      • MR: there will be less total available energy with just renewables.

        BPL: Why would there be? Renewable energy sources are quite vast on the Earth. Want the math?

      • There are plenty of analyses out there showing that renewable energy will be less than we have now. Renewables have limits because of limits to infrastructure development, because of impacts on the environment and due to generally low EROEI. But here are a couple of links to start you off.

      • Um, your 2 links both point to the same place–and it’s not at all quantitative, which means that it does nothing whatever to support your claim of less energy with renewables.

        Yes, the argument that renewable energy is not a magical cornucopia is correct. However, it is also largely a straw man.

      • michael sweet

        Mike Roberts,
        One of your links is from 2009 and the other from 2011. Wind and solar have decreased over 50% in cost since then. You need to cite up to date papers to support your claims.

        Up to date analysis like Jacobson 2015 show that it is possible to generate all the energy we need from renewable resources.

      • Michael, I’ve read many articles and papers on renewables but, so far, none of them have actually gone into the limits that are imposed on resources and environmental problems, instead focussing on economics and build times. Maybe Jacobson does better, if it’s not one of the ones I’ve read, but I don’t have time to look for it now. There was a paper a few years ago (sorry, been looking for it again but can’t find it) that showed there was an environmental limit to wind energy that was much less than most were projecting. This study from this year also goes into this to some degree.

      • Thanks for the link, Mike. I believe the relevant chapter for your point is here:

        They say that an actual forecast is not possible, but they suspect that there may be less total available energy, and that we will have to change energy use patterns. I suspect that the latter is true, and that indeed we already see that beginning–energy intensity is dropping in many places, including for two both the US and China.

        Haven’t had time to read the chapter yet, though. Look forward to it.

      • michael sweet


        Jacobson 2105 accounts for the amount of land used. Jacobson 2011 discusses the material needed for all the turbines, photovoltaic cells and other generators. There was a shortage of rare earth elements for the turbines. Since then the turbines have been redesigned to use less rare earth elements. i have seen comments about shortages of Lithium and nuclear materials but Jacobson’s plan does not use chemical batteries or nuclear. I presume since Jacobson no longer reviews this issue that it has been resolved. If you find out that it has not been resolved I would be interested in reading the paper. I think Brave New Climate would be all over it if the issue remained in play and they have not commented.

  19. I rather like the approach this bloke takes to using a moral compass when deciding whether you should or shouldn’t vote for Trump.

    I hadn’t looked at it quite like that before.

    • Yeah, it’s a bit like the justifications for Mussolini, isn’t it? “Yes, he’s nasty, but at least now ‘the trains run on time.'”

      Though Trump’s shambolic levels of discipline and communication, not to mention his record in business (recorded in large amounts of red ink apparently), inspire much confidence that’d he’d have any such parallel accomplishment to boast.

  20. “David Purdue (R-GA) didn’t take long to try to change the subject, to “Right now, it is not proven. There are controversies about that.” ”

    Talking of which, has it been proven that mitigation of AGW by reducing fossil fuel use will destroy our economy? Is there any controversy over that claim today? If so, I would ask david here if that means we can deny that there’s any risk to the economy by cutting out fossil fuel use.

  21. “Donald Trump has picked Myron Ebell, head of the Center for Energy and Environment at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, to lead his EPA transition team. Ebell is one of America’s most prominent climate change deniers, and his think tank is part of the Koch Brothers’ funded State Policy Network, according to research by the Center for Media and Democracy, a progressive watchdog group.”

    — Bill Moyers

  22. If the news in Austalia is any indication, Trump the lecherous groper is dead, buried, and will never be president. The way the commentators are talking about the disgusting material caught on video 11 years ago, Trump would be lucky to even be the candidate for the Republicans come November – although I can’t see them changing horses at this late stage.

    All Clinton has to do now is wait until the election. She could probably not even utter another word until all votes are cast, and still win.

  23. As far as I look into debate, it looks that DJT is an addicted gambler, going always to the high bets (even in the case of low odds). It would be nice to check the statistics of that behavior too.