Sunday, September 8, 2013

Topher Field's "50 to 1 Project"

The latest round in the Global Warming Awareness Wars has been a series of videos by an actor who thinks that with a lot of "cramming" and caffeine drinks, he can pass judgement on people who have a life-time worth of learning, experience and expertise in their various fields.  Ironically, Topher, has no experience with science or economics that I can make out - it seems he has spent his life trying to become an actor and break into show business.

In any event, Topher has been peddling his politically provocative videos for a number of years but now he has stepped into the Big Top, joining forces with super-stars such as Sir Lord Monckton and Mr. A Watts plus other luminaries of the climate science denial community.

It's called the "50 to 1 Project" where the creator is arguing that trying to slow down CO2 emissions will cost 50 times more than ignoring the problem and dealing with the damage as it happens.

What Topher has produced is a typical Crichtonesque Science Presentation where Creative License is used to mold the available scientific information to his own literary desires - real world facts be damned.  Topher includes only what he wants us to hear and ignores so much; it's pathetic.

Worst part is that his audience is good with it.
They don't mind, in fact, I'm realizing that is exactly what they expect and demand.
What else would explain folks sending TW bunches of money to support his transparent effort to distract attention away from the issues we need to be facing.

I would love to see Topher lecture in New Jersey and Staten Island. The question and answer periods would be quite illuminating especially if afterwards a tour of the on-going repair work in subways and other Hurricane Sandy damaged subsurface utilities and infrastructure throughout the stricken area is included.  It would sober up this kid who seems to believe that because he can operate and talk into a camera he's in some position to advise others.

His glib attitude reminds me of...  The punks who show up to work at a construction site, seething with contempt for direction and rules and expectations - then it turns out, they can't keep up with the crew and wind up doing more harm than good...  The loud mouthed drunks at the bar who have no conception of, nor respect for, the complexities of our modern society and how our modern marvels keep complex systems operating - and how those modern marvels need tending and protecting or they will break down.  

No, Topher doesn't show the least bit appreciation for such down to Earth realities so he will use his acting and PR skills to peddle misleading political platitudes with the alacrity of someone oblivious to the weight of actual responsibility.
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As for all those dog-chasing-tail claims regarding the Australian Carbon Tax, it makes my head spin.  I'm amazed and dizzy by the 'worm-holes of distraction' such libertarian, and in the USA, Republican types constantly regurgitate.  Repeating vacuous mantras and aphorisms all intent on wasting precious time and directing attention away from looking up towards the flash flood coming down the valley.
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This CarbonTax debate will continue being futile - until everyone figures out a few basic truths - and we all work together towards a collective goal!  
I would suggestion the important lessons could be summed up as. . . 
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LESSON ONE -  Greenhouse Gases are holding in more heat and warming our planet.  

LESSON TWO -  Energizing our Global Heat Distribution Engine {read climate} will radicalize weather patterns that had attained a most particular equilibrium over the past thousands of years 

LESSON THREE - Climate change has always radically disrupted and destroyed systems and patterns that had developed under the previous climate regime 

LESSON FOUR - WE the people ARE THE ONES DRIVING our Global Heat Distribution Engine into these more energetic realms - they will have impacts we can't fathom, since the coming conditions had never existed before. 

LESSON FIVE - One doesn't bitch about the paint job on the Life Boat that's about to get one's person off a sinking ship !  {OK so this last one is a bit weak - I'm trying to say a weak plan that can be improved upon is better than ignoring the problem and having no plan at all.}
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For more substantive information regarding Topher's claims here is some further reading suggestion:

The first isn't really about Topher's video, but since he bases his numbers on the work of the Lord Monckton, this link to Collin Maessen is worth checking out since Collin has written a number of articles that take a closer look at Monckton's numbers and claims. 

Climate Changes, But Facts Don’t
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Is the cost of preventing climate change 50 times higher than the cost of adapting to it?
{The specific claim is that mitigation is 50 time cheaper than avoidance, even on current, widely agreed assumptions. Are their sources correct? are the calculations reasonable?}
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Fifty to One Moncktonian Codswallop!
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50 times more expensive! Don’t make me laugh!
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My advice to Topher Field - take the money and run!
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Here's a couple final links that brings home what folks like the Lord and Topher and Watts want everyone to ignore:

National Climate Data Center - NOAA
Explaining Extreme Events of 2012

I tip my hat to Sou at for bringing this one to my attention:

Global warming, or just the weather?


Graham Wells said...

Having just watched Topher's sad YouTube interview with Watts, and criticized it at some length, I agree with your intro, but please - proofread!

"he can sit judgement"
"a life-times worth"
"what he want's"
"the least appreciate"
"someone obvious to"

Then there's the punctuation...
No offence intended: it's about credibility.

citizenschallenge said...

Guilty as charged.
Recently my days have been in a particularly crowded phase and I didn't spend the time I should have. ;-( unfortunately, even at the best of times my writing leaves room for much improvement.

Thanks for the advice.

Graham, you say you've done your own critique of Topher's intro. - could you share a link?

citizenschallenge said...

opps, Topher's interview with Watts, I mean.

Graham Wells said...

It's just the most recent YouTube comment, as klondike444, at:

Thanks for taking my comment in the intended spirit.

citizenschallenge said...

Actually, I thank you for taking the time to point out those goofs {hopefully I've fixed them up appropriately}.

I may not be a good writer, but I do take it seriously and appreciate that 'writing is a contact sport' ~~~ without tough-love critique all I'd be doing is spinning my wheels.

citizenschallenge said...

Your YouTube comment is worth sharing:


Watts: "Severe weather for the most part is on the downturn." All those record high and low temperatures? Imagination.

He waves away loss of Arctic sea ice, referencing 1922, with no figures, and mentioning "a prediction" of no sea ice in 2013. What will he say when it does disappear?

Ask about the frequency and intensity of storms, he talks about tornadoes.

Subsidies for renewables are bad, but ignores those for fossil fuels.

Finally, "Produced in association with: Lord Monckton Foundation"

Anonymous said...

Thank you for bringing the 50 to 1 Project to my attention! In this I found your article very informative.

citizenschallenge said...

You may find these articles looking into the '50 to 1 Project' even more interesting:

50 times more expensive! Don’t make me laugh!

My advice to Topher Field - take the money and run!