Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Restyling the oil slick

The message is now crystal clear and in slightly different colours. There's a mission statement that lays it out unambigiuously.

As I say, reporters should -- as a rule -- bypass Myron Ebell, if they feel they need to print utter bollocks, and talk to Exxon directly. The Exxon website doesn't have anything to say about climate change, except the ironic claim of reducing energy use and CO2 emissions from their oil refineries [NB the real emissions are the product that goes down the pipelines to get burnt by cars].

One reporter who is not taking my advice is Monisha Bansal for CNS News who, instead of asking ExxonMobil to explain why they should keep all of their $36.13 billion of profits last year, printed some Myron Ebell fatuousness:

"Sharing the wealth is a recipe to make sure that they can no longer provide good products at competitive prices because they will not have any money to reinvest in their industry," Ebell said.

To fit three lies in one short sentence take skill. (1) The word "share" does not mean "give it all away". (2) Sharing by taxation is not levied on reinvestment. (3) Gas is the same as it ever was; there are no new products from these old oil companies. No more than the electricity companies come up with new products.

There is a huge difference between the cost of the commodity and the price signal that is necessary to send to the market that has been understood by smokers now. They may pay a hiked up $6 a pack, but the tobacco company does not get all that money. It goes back to society to clean up the mess that tobacco smoking causes. The same deal must happen with gas.

"I guess we could learn to get along without oil and gas and start living in caves again," Ebell said.

Like Mozart, and Plato, and Queen Elizabth the First -- they all lived in caves, didn't they?

He went on to explain how the Exxon Valdez disaster is just oil under the bridge, you see.

"Oil is biodegradable and goes away after a time. We didn''t have a trust fund to clean up the East Coast after World War II, even though every beach had oil on it from oil tankers sunk by the Germans. In fact, within a few years everyone had forgotten about it," Ebell said.

Yeah. That's because they were ships powered by oil, not gigantic super-tankers built to bring America its oil after it has squandered the majority of its domestic resources.

Fine. Be that way. It's you're job to spout garbage. But that does mean no one should printing it.

Monday, January 23, 2006


The odoriferous name "Myron Ebell" is like the squirt Methanethiol they add to natural gas to create that certain smell which you can detect before it reaches explosive concentrations.

The author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science gave an interview where he mentioned his conversations with Myron Ebell without reminding readers that he is a corporate liar. In that one omission he gave away the game of exactly what his book was about.

No signal is ever clearer that the drink has been spiked with the equivalent of liver-rotting methanol than the assumption that Myron Ebell has any credibility. Even the Washington Post now always reports that he works for a "think tank [which] receives contributions from companies opposed to mandatory carbon limits" when they quote him.

A better result would be not to take quotes from this clown at all. Cut out the middle-man. Phone up the Exxon PR department directly and ask them to spell the words: "Global Warming is a loony left-wing conspiracy promulgated by anti-science forces better funded than ours" in burning octane scraped off the molten Arctic ocean after the next oil tanker disaster.

Or maybe they're too embarrassed to say what they actually think, because they know it's wrong.

Myron Ebell has nothing to say in his worthless utterances. He is damaged goods. His position as an undercover corporate spokesman has been blown wide open, and the rest of this pack of talentless rent-a-liars at the CEI should be put out to pasture somewhere near Chernobyl where they can taste the imaginary isotopes of an environmentalist conspiracy embedding alpha transmitters into their bones.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Intellectual terrorism

It's the scale of the deliberate damage that counts, not the scale of the action.

It's a delicate enough problem to get the public and political classes to understand scientific debate that's well-founded and makes unpopular predictions about the future. It's a triumph when they do follow it, just as it's a triumph to get trains to run along bridges that don't collapse under the natural force of gravity, or encounter a head-on collision. It takes the constant vigilance of those whose job it is to keep them running.

It shouldn't be a surprise that it doesn't take much for a well-connected and malicious person to completely break the system.

We know it's possible for a terrorist to kill a disproportionate number of people with a well-timed explosive attached to the infrastructure, or even nothing more than a spanner applied to the right bolts on the rail-road tracks to engineer a head-on collision. Their work is made easy if they are given a free pass to roam through restricted areas posing as a regular repair-worker carrying their tools of destruction openly and without suspicion.

It's a risk that must be worried about. The intellectual terrorist and the violent terrorist are similar in many ways. Both are liars. And both use the same tactics to evade security, from getting let in by a man on the inside, to pretending to be fixing things even while they are in the process of packing down the explosives.

In spite of what they say, terrorists and real workers are easy to tell apart. Intellectual terrorists say that all sides work for money. Myron gets paid by Exxon, and the railway workers work get paid by the government. Their motivations are therefore the same, are they not? Of course, on that crude level both a maffia hit-man and a kindergarden teacher are morally equivalent because both get paid to do a job.

Clearly, income cannot tell them apart. Nor does expertise, background, or training. In fact, a railway worker who has been hired to sabotage the system can do a heck of a lot more damage than anyone else, given their intricate knowledge. Also, if you are on site without any obvious training, and you don't admit to anyone your ignorance, it's pretty suspicious. Myron has never admitted to being pig-ignorant about climatology, and knowing as much about it as I know about the chemistry of peat, but that doesn't stop him talking shite. One should always state ones limitations.

No. What usually tells terrorists apart from real workers are answers to the simple questions: "Why are they there?", "What do the other workers think they doing?", and "Do they go around leaving the gates open for other malicious individuals to get on site, and never apologize?"

For an intellectual terrorist like Myron Ebell, the answers are obvious. The fact that he has never once criticised any of his friends for talking complete hogwash about climate change not happening, and indeed continuing to praise them for their utter self-evident garbage, gives him away.

Myron Ebell lies in his own words, he lies by proxy, and he lies bu omission. No one should publish his name without stating these facts. He is a success in his own view when he does the most amount of damage with the least amount of resources. There ought to be special laws to prosecute people like him.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Read this

Here is an extremely good article which everyone should read, documenting the tactics of Myron Ebell's friends to knit a silk purse out of a pig's ear in the echo chamber of the media.

Myron is, as usual, too modest in his statements of culpability: "Many corporations have funded, you know, dribs and drabs here and there, but I would be surprised to learn that there was a bigger one than Exxon,"

Ebell denies the sum indicates any sort of quid pro quo. He’s proud of ExxonMobil’s funding and wishes "we could attract more from other companies."

So proud of it, in fact, that he denied his de facto spokesman-like relation with Exxon, and mislead the public of his non-independence when he gave interviews, until real journalists dug out the facts by other means.